In this final Astrology 101, we’re going to demonstrate briefly how to read a birth chart and provide a round-up of further resources you might like to explore on your astral journey.
Reading a Birth (Natal) Chart
When reading a birth or natal chart, it is important to remember that, while some parts of the chart appear to be more significant than others, you need to take the whole picture into account. It’s like eating a delicious meal; it’s the overall presentation and taste which have the most initial impact. Later, you will discover your favorite morsels as you delve into your plate. It’s the same with a birth chart – an astrologer will first get an overall impression, and then delve into the details to flesh out the big picture, and to discover the real you and your journey through life.
Here is Joe’s natal chart, which he has kindly shared. He was born 27th May 1964 at 17:10 EDT.
The first thing we ascertain is his Sun sign: Gemini, so immediately we have a basic idea of how Joe views the world. He is a thinker, an explorer of ideas. He is charming, a good communicator, yet could be a little distant.
The second is his Moon sign: Sagittarius. Now we can see where Joe’s Gemini may be conflicted, tempered or enhanced by Sagittarius. The tendency to keep his distance indicated by the Sun in Gemini could well be overridden by the Moon in enthusiastic Sagittarius.
Thirdly, Joe’s rising sign, or Ascendant, the one on the horizon at his time of birth. This is located at the cusp of the First House – in Joe’s case, Libra. The Ascendant shows the face that Joe presents to the world. Others see him as well-balanced, calm and friendly.
Then we look at the Houses where the planets are located. Pay attention to what each House represents, the characteristics of the planet itself, and the elements involved. Remember that each planet has an element, and so does each house.
No interpretation would be complete without taking into account the Aspects; the angles that the planets form with each other. Aspects indicate how various energies converge and develop. They show possible future outcomes. Aspects play a big part in modifying the interpretations in a chart. They can show how two planets aid, abet and hinder each other. It’s a big subject, beyond the scope of this article. However, Corrine Lane of AstroLibrary has a good explanation of how Aspects work.
Armed with this basic information you could soon get an idea of the kind of person Joe is. Of course, it takes a lot of intense study to be able to interpret a birth chart accurately and deeply. There are so many variables, shades of black and white… and a whole rainbow of personality traits to understand.
We hope, at least, that we have shone a small light, and when you decide to get a full horoscope for yourself, you will have some basic knowledge of how it was calculated and interpreted.
Free Astrology Resources
Should you wish to take your study further, we have some excellent free resources for you to explore.
AstroLibrary has a whole section of free lessons. Written in easy-to-understand terminology, Corrine Lane explains the process from start to end. She also has a huge bank of interpretations and resources. Definitely worth spending some hours there.
Tabby of Little Red Tarot has a really nice basic course in Astrology.
You can obtain and download a free birth chart at AstroDienst
A good analysis of the ten Houses
Astrology.com is a fun, magazine type site.
Bob Marks has a comprehensive astrology course at BobMarksAstrologer.
Hank Friedman’s site, Learn Astrology Free, hosts lessons in both Western and Vedic astrology. It’s a little quaint, but the information is as valid as ever.
Recommended Astrology Books
The Astrology Bible by Judy Hall (ISBN-10: 1402727593
ISBN-13: 978-1402727597) is a well organized and beautifully illustrated guide for the beginner and intermediate astrology student.
Astrology for Yourself by Douglas Bloch and Demetra George (ISBN-10: 0892541229
ISBN-13: 978-0892541225), described as “the best beginner’s book out there”, walks you through your own birth chart in a series of guided lessons and exercises.
“Chart Interpretation Handbook: Guidelines for Understanding the Essentials of the Birth Chart” by Stephen Arroyo (ISBN-10: 0916360490
ISBN-13: 978-0916360498) is an astrologist’s library essential.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Astrology: 4th Ed. By Madeline Gerwick-Broader (ISBN-10: 1592575811
ISBN-13: 978-1592575817) is definitely worth a look if you are a complete beginner. As with all the Idiot’s Guides, it is well laid out and broken into manageable steps.
Astrology, A Cosmic Science: The Classic Work on Spiritual Astrology by Isabel M. Hickey ISBN-10: 0916360636
ISBN-13: 978-0916360634) is a well-loved and respected reference. Probably more suited to the intermediate and accomplished student of astrology.
Astrology Apps for Android
Download from Google Playstore on your smart phone or tablet.
Daily Horoscope has been around a while. It’s the most downloaded astrology app on the Playstore. It’s free and customizable.
My Horoscope is free, a bit disorganized, but full of useful content. After the initial set up, daily forecasts are available as soon as you open the app on your phone.
Astrologer is simple and well laid out. It’s also free. Gives information on personality traits and daily or monthly horoscopes.
Susan Miller’s Astrology Zone. There’s a free and paid version. You may not be able to resist getting the paid version which offers full horoscopes.
Astrology Apps for iPhone
Download from the AppStore
AstroHoro. Free. Not just a daily, weekly and monthly horoscope AstroHoro also offers relationship advice – not just with your partner, but your friends and coworkers too. It also tells you what foods would suit you best according to your birth date.
Astrolis Horoscopes and Tarot. Free. Daily horoscopes, love horoscopes and tarot readings. You can customize your personal preferences, get daily ‘mood’ outlooks, discover what signs you will most compatible with on any day, and share the results with your friends.
The Daily Horoscope is another free and very comprehensive app. Includes Western, Chinese and Druid daily horoscopes. You can go back to check your horoscope on any given day during the last three years. A valuable feature is that you can save your horoscopes for future reference.
Hope you’ve enjoyed our mini Astrology 101 series. We do hope these resources will encourage you to keep exploring the astrological universe.